Our group toured the Mercedes Benz plant in Bremen a few days ago. We were warmly welcomed by an awesome showroom and shop. After a few minutes of looking around, we met our tour guide who showed us an introduction video to Mercedes. The video focused on the craftsmanship and extreme detail they put into every car. After the video, we were each given ear pieces that would allow us to hear the tour guide in the loud shop and from far away. From here we hopped on the bus and headed towards the body shop.
On our way to the body shop, our tour guide gave us some statistics about what goes on there. He said that there are over 4000 robots that manufacture 1800 cars per day in this plant alone. The fact that stuck out most to me was that 95 percent of this manufacturing process was automated. It was astounding to see how smooth their process was in putting together and welding the main frame of the car. Though many of the cars going through this process are similar, they are not all exactly the same. Things like right vs. left hand drive and if the car had a sunroof or not varies from car to car in this process. Robots were working all over the place and doing everything perfectly. There were thousands of spot welds on each frame, and the robots were doing them exactly right each time.
After the body shop, we got back on the bus again and drove to the assembly plant. The car frames move from the body shop to get painted and then eventually to the assembly plant. In the assembly plant, the majority of the work is done with manual labor. Workers exam each car and place the needed interior and exterior parts on the frame. The assembly shop is mostly man labor because it would be way to complicated for robots to know exactly what details to put on each car like trim packages or interior details.
Our visit concluded with us heading back to the main showroom where we took a group picture under the Mercedes sign. It was awesome to see the mixture between automated processes and skilled labor that is put into the manufacturing of each Mercedes car. It is easy to see why Mercedes is thought of as one of the best luxury vehicles.